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tv   [untitled]    April 28, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PDT

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the height but it's not clearly defined what is the issue. support the project as it is. transitional aged youth need the housing. we need the units. it's really an important project. support it as it is. thank you. >> thank you. morell green, evan cambridge, loren tom followed by ben robertson. >> good afternoon, commissioners, my name is morell green. i come here in many hats but one of those hats is from the executive committee of the n aacp and another hat is from the city of san francisco where i serve as counseling faculty. i want to talk to you very briefly about two things. one is what booker t. has done and what booker t. can do with your approval. the first is i'm a product of
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booker t. that was my first summer jodge through the marist youth employment program when i was 14. that was 20 years ago. i'm still at booker t. working with the high school kids today. my mother and mother-in-law were both products of booker t. in the 1950's and 1960's. because of some of the things that booker t. has done for them, they have been allowed to raise children who are doing positive things in the city and county of san francisco. my mother-in-law raised my wife who is now a doctor, a foot and ankle surgeon. it's because of some of the things her mother learned at booker t. and my wife learned at booker t. she's been able to succeed. as well i'm a doctoral candidate in education, because of what booker t. taught me and what i'm able to teach others. there's not many people born and raised in san francisco like myself for 34 years that come back to the community to give back to these students. i grew up in a beautiful victorian near booker t. washington and i was next door
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to a huge building. i went to washington high school, george washington high school in the avenues which is filled with residential areas. i tell some people complaining, welcome to san francisco because that's what goes on here. we all have to come together in a seven-mile area radius. i just want to leave you with saying i support this project and there's always going to be people who complain but it's the people who can't afford a car that don't complain about gas. i just want you to think about that. [applause] >> hello, my name is eve an cambridge, a district executive with the boy scouts of america. i cannot give my opinion because i'm not allowed to by my organization. however, i can speak on to things i've witnessed myself, first and foremost, i've heard that the facility adds parking,
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a lot of parking on the 800 block of presidio is due to the center being there and of people needing to park to pick up and drop off their kids. so should that parking be added, it would actually be a service to the neighborhood. secondly, as many times as i have been there, i have not witnessed any exceedingly detrimental traffic to the community. the streets are very wide and if you go there now without the added additional parking, you will find people are double parked. the newer buildings, and this is an opinion, should have sound -- better sound dampening abilities than the building that's there now. the building there now is a little bit older than newer technology.
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also, the booker t. is, of course, the oldest neighbor of the neighborhood represented in this commission, so just keep in mind they are the oldest neighbor here represented. [applause] >> lastly but not, laura heights, if you see it topographically, it's elevated from presidio avenue and would be impacted the least from a viewpoint in the change in elevation as the percentage goes down by your change in elevation. thank you. >> hello, my name is lauren tom and i live on the corner of washington and presidio. i've lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years. i'm a third generation san
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franciscoian. i went to public school in the city, went to cal, graduated from hastings. i'm the mother of a high school student that goes to school in the city and we love the booker t. my niece worked as a summer camp counselor there and want to speak in support of the project as it is. it's a beautiful site, a beautiful building. we think this is going to be an exciting addition to the neighborhood that will enhance the neighborhood in the same way the new j.c.c. building has. and i just want to say that i enthusiastically support it and hope you will, too. thank you. >> thank you. >> good evening. my name is ben robertson. i'm from first place for youth. i would like to make a few
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points. one is that as first place for youth we house former foster youth. san francisco youth are currently being housed in alameda county and think it's a disservice children of the community can't grow and find residents in their community. the second point i would like to make is that any reduction in the size of the building would also reduce the amount of units served, and we're looking, you know, at this in terms of feet, but there's individuals, there's lives being helped. so when you reduce four units, there's 25-30 fewer youth that are going to be served at this location you could have an impact. that's all i wanted to say. thank you. >> thank you. >> michael sessage, followed by
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winston parsons and phillip stone. >> my name is michael sessag, 2609 post street, around the corner from booker t. i agree, booker t. has done a wonderful job with the programs it's done. my problem is it you built this building 10 stories high it wouldn't solve the problem. so ask me to come within the units of the current zoning laws is a reasonable request from the neighbors. i think the answer is for us to go home and talk about in our own community adding housing units for the same purpose. and not focus on building a 10-story building in one neighborhood. that's not going to solve the problem. i have some questions about the parking. i looked at the drawings this morning on the planning commission. i came at 12:00 and cannot see it until 4:00. i went to the planning
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commission and saw the spots. half of them are tandem parking spaces, which is difficult to get people in and out of. one speaker earlier said she saw the great benefit of the j.c.c. but the j.c.c. built two or three levels under the building and to solve that problem, i would be overjoyed, too, if we added three stories underneath booker t. washington center. i also heard people talk about presidio as a boulevard. presidio narrows from four lanes to two lanes in front of the booker t. washington center and actually gets narrower there and the buses come back and same shifts the same time parents are picking up their children in the afternoon. so it's -- i wish we could just go and watch. someone suggested we do that. i think that's a good idea. go over there 5:30, 6:00 and see the mess that exists. it's one lane and everybody is
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double parked and waiting for their kids. it's a problem now. so when they say they're going to encourage people to use muni, why not encourage them to use muni now. it seems it could be solved now if we really had the leadership necessary to do that. so think about safety. >> thank you. >> good evening. my name is winston parsons and currently live at 636 presidio and am a fourth generation san franciscoian and lived in this neighborhood my entire life. i'll i was initially against the plan of a near eight-story project, the mission of booker t.'s downsize proposal are worthy of any advocacy. i can understand the appeal of sticking to zoning guidelines that served an area well. however, we must not lose sight of the fact they're ultimately guidelines. zoning codes are not words from on high and engraved on stone tablets.
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we should evaluate the effectiveness of regulations and make exceptions as -- exceptions as needed. being too rigid is equally foolhardy as having no guidelines. i'd like to address the concerns over parking. i do not think parking is the best utilization of space for an organization seeking to aid and empower youth. adding more parking to the proposal or having one to one housing is foolhardy. also we need to remember the youth or transitionally aged youth, many leaving the foster system. while i think some of them might own a car it's not making sense most would. financing gas, insurance, maintenance and parking fees, owning a car is rather expensive. i have the benefit of a supportive family, a good education and part-time job and am living at home and makes more financial sense for me to buy a fast pass each month than own a car. i'd also like to point out the area is well served by muni. we have three jackson and the 43 masonic.
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lastly, i think we need to keep in mind the broader context within this project. local, state and federal budgets are being picked apart. it would appear various agencies including redevelopment agencies are going to lose funding. to fight a project that develops services to lift youth out of a path of uncertainty at a time when services are being cut is shooting ourselves in the foot. ultimately this project doesn't seem about making a profit but empowering youth who have went through undue hardship. we fall into this of pulling them up from their bootstraps. a safe place to live is the first step to achieving individuals to a better quality of life and why i support this project. thank you. >> thank you. [applause] >> good evening. my name is phillip stone. i'm a fourth generation san franciscoian. i live at the corner of washington and presidio.
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i'm here to ask you to support this project. i joined the booker t. in 1947. my parents helped build the present building at 800 presidio in 1951. since that time i have been and my neighbors have been, we lived on laguna street at the time, have always gone through all of the african-americans my age which is 67 have come through the booker t. washington community center. i'm a product of lowell high school, university of california. and i'm an adjunct professor of law at university san francisco school of law. i ask you to support this project. i think there's no question this project is needed. it's needed not just at the corner of washington and presidio but needed all over the city. right now this is the one place that can facilitate and help
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such needs we have in the city. i'd like to make one correction i heard earlier. in front of the booker t. on presidio street is a place where the street widens, it doesn't narrow. after you leave sutter and go towards bush street then it begins to narrow. i just want to correct that for the record. again, i'm here to let you know i don't want to get in the specifications of the attorneys and the planners do that but this is a good project and we might as well use what money we have to the maximum efficiency. and i say, again, i'm also on the board of directors. i'm the pressurer. please support this project. thank you. >> thank you. we have no more speaker cards. is there any additional public comment at this time?
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>> good evening. my name is lorel dean. i'm the middle school coordinator for booker t. washington. but besides that, i was born and raised in the city, the western addition, and i've been a part of it my whole life. i think this gentleman said it best, most the african-american males, if not community have gone through booker t., is one of our oldest buildings in the city alone, let alone culturally based oldest and is a neighbor of that community. i point out two things. one, we do have j.c.c. in that area and we also have the west side public housing authority in that area. and they have co-existed around this neighborhood for a number of years. to see this building revise itself, regenerate itself, re-establish and break down to be rebuilt is vital and necessary for our youth. our youth see nothing that is
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of substance without us doing it ourselves. and we have opposition which is not a problem. i think with more is less comes less opportunity for that youth who's looking for a chance. so there's less. what will they do next? that's the true question. so please, please support this project because i have an 8-year-old and i want my 8-year-old to have the opportunity to go there as a fourth generation. >> thank you. is there any additional public comment? >> good evening, commissioners, steve williams again. i wanted to thank supervisor farrell for his obviously thankless job, not getting much thanks in this room. the planning commission is here to enforce the general plan and the planning code. and the need, the social need no matter how great, no matter how worthy, has nothing to do
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with whether the project satisfies the code or the general plan or is compatible with the neighborhood and allowing these general, universal social need and worthy cause to control a specific decision is wrong. and it leads to great inequities. we're talking about the building and we would be here no matter what was in the building. we would be here if it was luxury condominiums, which, by the way, is how this project started in 2006. luxury condominiums. so this block is not as it's been portrayed. this is a very low-scale victorian block. it has three one-story buildings, 12 two-story buildings, nine three-story buildings and only three four-story buildings. this is a very radical change for this block. there's no housing there now. and to put 50 units -- and this building, it's not going to be just 55 feet tall. it's going to be close to 70
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feet tall as you come down the very steep slope on sutter. and so we're asking for -- and the impacts are obvious. people are saying what are the impacts? the shadow, the athetic, the impacts are overwhelming to plug this building in this small neighborhood and it's absurd to claim they've given back anything. they're going 100% over the current zoning. there's no rear yard for these people to live next to it. i mean, we started at 100 units and now down to 50. come on. there's only 28 under the zoning there. you know, the compromise that's been offered is not something i think the neighbors like. it's something i think they're willing to swallow for a good cause. >> thank you. >> president olague, commissioners, my name is sam
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kadavac, a member of the district and head of drew school which is four blocks away from the project. and i'm here to give my full support and that of dozens of members of the school community to the project as it's been presented. it's a very exciting project. it's a five-story project that will serve many families and many youth going forward for a long time in this city. it will enable booker t. to expand its role as a community center and provide affordable housing which is desperately needed in this city. this project already represents itself as a respectful compromise and i'm thrilled to back it. for san francisco and for our district, this plan under pot scott's leadership will provide desperately needed housing units for transition-aged youth with a recognized and commended service provider. additionally, with this project, as it's presented to you, booker t. will be able to expand its range of services to
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its multigenerational, multiracial, and multiethnic communities by providing more education, more childcare, more health and wellness services, career training, and especially with computers, job opportunities for many people currently underserved. i visited the current facility about three to four dozen times a year in my role as a neighbor and my role as an educator. the current facility grossly compromises any educational programs, any outreach through the community that might go on and serve them if it were better. this is an organic, respectful community organization under pat and phil's leadership and the new board of trustees, it's got new life providing new opportunities for a wide range of constituents, all of which will contribute to our city. >> thank you.
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>> good evening. my name is ms. menendez, a current student at san francisco state university with the guardian scholars program. i was placed in foster care at the age of 16. not a lot of people had a lot of hope in me. people thought i was going to drop out of school, have i don't know how many children, marry someone for money and all these things. and prostitute myself. honestly, these are the situations i was facing at the age of 16. but instead of, you know, following those stereotypes i got a job by my senior year i had four jobs, i was a secretary, i was a youth outreach worker, a tutor and cleaning houses on the weekend. and what i really want to say is there is -- i know a lot of the conversations and opposing side is the architectural
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design and there's a fifth floor but i do honestly believe there is -- partially there is a fear of bringing young people who maybe have been through certain backgrounds, harsh backgrounds and might bring trouble or more crime and different things, and i would like you to see that there are foster youth, there are young people that really want to do what they got to do to get themselves out there and be able to succeed and just be able to help their community and i'm one of them. and since i do feel sad, i'm one of the 5% that actually went -- is going to college and probably will be graduating in two years and will be attending law school to become a dependency lawyer and would like to be an advocate for young people who are former foster youth and who did not get a better opportunityy. and it would be really sad for me and i don't know, i would maybe not understand why san
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francisco wouldn't support a project like this when we know that only five of us actually make it. that's not fair. and i would like to see that apartment complex -- this project to be there for young people. that's all i wanted to really say. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you for the applause, everyone. good evening, planning commission, my name is dan winton and represent the 12,000-plus member san francisco bicycle coalition and wanted to speak in reference to an official letter you received from the bicycle coalition in support of this project. we believe the project has been vetted, well thought out, well-planned and from our perspective in terms of bicycle infrastructure and facilities this is in addition to our community and that neighborhood so on behalf of the bicycle coalition we urge you to support this project. thank you very much. >> thank you. is there any additional public comment? seeing none, public comment is closed.
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>> commissioners, if i may, mr. cabreros, department staff. i wanted to make an amendment to my presentation earlier, staff presentation. we are actually recommending -- there are two actions before you this evening. if you are to go forward with the adoption of the resolution to create the special use district, we would like for the commission to include the ceqa findings along with that action and that would set forth attachment a of the ceqa findings in the packet and also attachment b which is for the mitigation and monitoring and reporting program so that would be wrapped up in your first action. with regard to your conditional use planned development motion, if you are to go forward with that, we also would reference the adoption of those findings and attachment a and b for the ceqa and monitoring program.
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thank you. >> thank you, commissioner antonini. commissioner antonini: thank you for the testimony and i want to express my total support for this project and i think everyone in this room has total support for the project. i think some of us feel, or what is really before us is what is the most appropriate height, density and other things and that's really what we're discussing tonight. everyone is very supportive. i'll give you one reason why. i don't know how many read the report from larkin street but it was very alarming and it shows what a need there is. apparently, there were an average of 1,313 young people who went into foster care per year in san francisco between 2008-2010. and according to that figure, that represented 10.8% of the children in san francisco. i'm not sure if that's correct.
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i think it's a number equivalent to. because apparently about 58% of the young people came from outside san francisco and 42% came from within san francisco. but regardless of how the statistics are, the need is a great one? and of course as these young people reach age 18, they have needs and want of the primary needs is housing. however, i did want to point out that we are in receipt of a letter from supervisor mark farrell that supports a compromised position which i think is a good alternative. it is one that would be supported by the neighbors, from with a i understand, and these -- the site of booker t.'s present facility, there were victorians there before 1953. doesn't make any difference, they were demolished, the present building was built. if you look at the context of the neighborhood, and i know almost all of you are very familiar with it, most of the heights of the buildings are
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quite a bit smaller than what is proposed. even the larger apartment buildings are not in excess of 40 feet. so the impact is greatest on those who would be to the east side of the building. that is those between sutter and post that will be impacted greatly and considerably more by a building that would be 55 feet as opposed by 45 feet. and i think that's what we're really talking about. the other issue is the parking. and we're only providing 21 offstreet parking places. now, we have a lot of uses here. we're going to have the gym which will be much bigger, more heavily utilized, and that's going to be an impact. also, although we will have, as designed, 24 units for emancipated youth, there also will be 24 units for people making up to the 60th percentile median income, there will be studios.
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among these young people, i think you'll find a higher incidence of car ownership than you expect. when you're first out of school, one of the first things you'll be able to buy is you're going to buy a car because a lot of times your job depends on you being there on time and employers are not very happy when employees are late and often times public transportation is not reliable, or jobs call for you to go outside of san francisco or other places. we have to look at this realistically and the impact might be greater and we want to keep the impact one that is not making the situation worse than it is. the other factor that was brought up is parking for municipal railway drivers and many live outside of san francisco and have to park in the neighborhood often for the whole day or for their shift and that's also an impact. so while certainly it would be up to project sponsor to decide the question of should we have the same number of units and
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less parking or should we have an equal amount of parking and fewer units, i think that probably that could be something that would be worked out. but i am supportive of the compromise proposed by supervisor farrell. also, we have word in his letter from the mayor's office of housing that they will make up any shortfall that may occur. it's been expressed that without the full complement of units at the present rent price points that they need -- they will have a shortfall of 11,000 per year. the mayor's office and doug shoemaker assured us they'll make sure however many units there are and whatever the height is, it will be fully funded. and i think that's really important. and as far as design, i think the design is good. i think there are a few things that were brought up, i think tom radulovic brought up the gym and think the glazing is a
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little intense and would like to see -- i know they want to get as much light as possible into there but perhaps could increase the thickness of the cornice or make the glaze section on the me video -- presidio side lower than diagrammed in there. as far as the rest of it, it can be articulated in expect the -- exactly the same manner whether it's 45 feet or 55 feet to make it attractive and blend in. the punched windows are great. i'd like to see a little more molding around them. and, you know, those would be things that would make it fit in well with the neighborhood and sometimes it will be a higher building than anything else in the neighborhood, but if it's context chural, the height won't be so imposing. i have letters we've received from the jordan park improvement association, laurel heights improvement association, presidio heights association of neighbors and the coalition of san francisco neighborhoods, all of whom have